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Health Highlights: Aug. 9, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Low-Calorie Diet Benefited Men More Than Women

A low-calorie diet benefited men more than women, a new study found.

It included more than 2,000 people with pre-diabetes who were put on a low-calorie, high-protein diet. People with pre-diabetes have high blood sugar but have not developed type 2 diabetes, ABC News reported.

After eight weeks on the diet, all participants had lost about 10 percent of their body weight and had their blood sugar under control, according to the Danish researchers.

But men lost much more body fat than women, had improvements in resting heart rate, lower bad cholesterol and shaved a few inches off their waist, ABC News reported.

Meanwhile, women had decreases in good cholesterol, lean body mass and bone-mineral content, all of which may pose a risk to long-term health.

Both women and men had a decline in inflammatory biomarkers, resulting in improved blood flow, ABC News reported.

"Despite adjusting for the differences in weight loss, it appears that men benefited more from the intervention than women. Whether differences between genders persist in the long-term and whether we will need to design different interventions depending on gender will be interesting to follow," lead author Pia Christensen, from the University of Copenhagen, told ABC News.

About 86 million American adults have pre-diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with pre-diabetes need to understand that they can easily progress to diabetes if they don't make lifestyle changes.

"If you tell people that they don't have diabetes yet, they think 'Oh good.' They take that loophole," Anne Daly, past-president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association, told ABC News.

"We don't want people to take that loophole," she added.


Vaccinations Begin in Congo Ebola Outbreak

Vaccinations against Ebola began Wednesday in an effort to stem the latest outbreak in Congo.

Three thousand doses of the experimental vaccine are being sent to North Kivu province. The first to be vaccinated will include health workers, contact of confirmed Ebola patients, and their contacts, the Associated Press reported.

The vaccine was used in a previous Ebola outbreak in Congo that was declared over last month.

In another measure, the World Health Organization said Ebola screening of travelers at the Congo-Rwanda border was "already in high gear," the AP reported.

The new outbreak was declared Aug. 1 and there have been 17 confirmed cases, 27 probable cases, 47 suspected cases, and at least nine deaths.

There have been about 36 deaths from hemorrhagic fever since the start of the outbreak, but officials said many of them have not been confirmed as Ebola deaths, the AP reported.


Measles Case Reported in Minnesota

A Somali-American child in Minnesota has been diagnosed with the measles after returning from a trip to Africa, state health officials said Tuesday.

They added that the unidentified 5-year-old in Hennepin County was not vaccinated, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

A 2017 measles outbreak in Minnesota infected 75 children and adults, the largest such outbreak in the state in about three decades. Most of the patients were Somali-Americans in Hennepin County who not been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease that can be spread by coughs and sneezes.

Measles vaccination rates in that community are about half the statewide rate, according to health officials.

"We want to make sure that they are getting vaccinated, otherwise we have the potential to revisit what happened just over a year ago," Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease division director at the Minnesota Health Department, told the Star Tribune.

In the 2017 outbreak, the first case went undetected for about two weeks, but this new case was caught fairly early. The child was infectious for about eight days, beginning July 30, health officials said.

The child was hospitalized and released. Patients and staff at a medical clinic and hospital that treated the child are being notified about the case, the Star Tribune reported.


New Tick Species Spreading in U.S.

The first new tick species to appear in the United States in 50 years is spreading rapidly in the East and has been confirmed in seven states and the suburbs of New York City.

In it's home range, the Asian long-horned tick carries a virus that kills 15 percent of its victims, but it is considered a greater threat to livestock than to humans, The New York Times reported Monday.

U.S. public health experts say they are concerned, but not alarmed, by the presence of the long-horned tick, which is known in Australia as the bush tick and in New Zealand as the cattle tick.

The ticks can reproduce rapidly and suck so much blood from a young animal that it dies, the Times reported.

In the United States, the first long-horned tick was found last summer in western New Jersey. Since then, they've been found in Bergen, Essex and Middlesex counties in that state, in New York's Westchester County, and in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The ticks were found feeding on horses, dogs, deer, a calf, a sheep and an opossum. They do feed on humans, but experts say you can protect yourself by following the same measures to guard against domestic ticks, such as using repellents and checking for ticks after walking through woods or tall grass, the newspaper reported.

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Posted: August 2018

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